Friday, July 08, 2011

Jean-Luc Godard: Alphaville

Alphaville: Une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution, Jean-Luc Godard's black and white 1965 "science fiction" film -- really more of an alternate reality take on its own time and place -- considers a number of questions about the nature of social existence. Through Godard's idiosyncratic scrim, it seems as if there are elements and ideas shared with both Philip K. Dick (The Man in the High Castle, 1962) and Herbert Marcuse (One-Dimensional Man, 1964): a lot about memory, desire, and the encroachment of technocracy. All three artists processed the world as they knew it at the time and looked forward, particularly in the grim wake of the Second World War and all of its attendant technology-magnified horrors via the Cold War and military-space-nuclear developments to that point. They were, I suspect, more sensitized to "external reality" than most of us are nearly fifty years later.

Since the 1960s, it would seem that human societies and their leaders have shown 1) more incompetence and 2) more resilience than any of them would have expected at the time. So far, somehow some way, we have collectively muddled through.

In a similar vein, François Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 came out in 1966.

Today's Rune: Fertility.


Luma Rosa said...

It's amazing how the private detective, disguised as a journalist for Le Figaro-Pravda, leaving the foreign countries to act in Alphaville, the world which dominates the technocracy and the only logic is allowed.
I watched this movie recently, indicated by a course i did. A science fiction without special effects, romance and humor.
Good statement! Good weekend!

Charles Gramlich said...

I very much like Fahrenheit 451. Haven't seen the other.

Erik Donald France said...

Hey thanks for the comments! Charles, Godard is also a fan of Ray Bradbury.

new wave 21c said...

Definate borrowings by Ridley Scott(Bladerunner) from this great movie

new wave 21c said...

Definite influence on Ridley Scotts Bladerunner-funny Godard liked Bradbury and Scott liked Dicks electric sheep etc--anyway Alphavilles great stuff!!